Employee retention is a hot topic amongst many companies, especially when it comes to businesses that experience high turnover rates. Keeping good employees is important – and knowing how to keep them can be equally as important.
Employee retention can’t be whittled down to just one thing. However, one of the biggest driving factor for a higher employee retention rate is employee happiness. While you can’t bend over backwards to make everyone happy on all fronts, there are sacrifices that you must be willing to consider and make as a business owner to keep your good employees – especially when you need them.
Cultivate a great culture
One driving factor for many employees leaving is a toxic culture in your workplace. Discouraging such things as drama, speaking about other employees behind their backs, harassment, joking that has gone too far, and more can help keep your culture from going toxic. The big thing here is leading by example. You don’t need to be a micromanager or lording over people to try to create a good culture. Set a line and let your employees know what is okay and what isn’t. Micromanaging can also create a toxic culture where your employees despise you, so make sure you are allowing people breathing room as well. Embrace differences in employee attitudes and behaviors as well as their personal culture, but make clear what will and won’t be tolerated.
Hire the right employees and pay accordingly
Paying minimum wage can sometimes mean that you will get minimum wage applicants. If you are looking for someone to fill a role but you are not willing to pay competitively for that role, you can expect lower tier applicants that may not be as qualified as you like. Making sure your wages are competitive and are worth the responsibilities that you are asking is very important to potential employees and getting the right employees. Remember—you get what you pay for, and this includes employees.
Vetting new employees is also important, which should be done during the interview process. Think about whether or not a new employee will fit in with the company culture and how they’ll get along with your current employees. Do they sound like a know-it-all? These are questions you need to consider. One toxic employee can poison the whole feel of your company – make sure you nip these issues in the bud.
It’s important to love what you do. Having fun while you’re doing it is a big part of that. Inviting employees to joke around – within reason – and be a little more informal with one another can be helpful. Things such as hosting dress-down days (casual Fridays), hosting pot lucks, group lunches, and more can be great small motivators to get your employees excited to come to work.
Make sure your employees know they’re appreciated
Say thank you and say it often! And be sincere! When an employee does an outstanding job and you see it – show proper recognition for that. A simple “thank you” can go a long way to making employees feel they are valued. An employee doesn’t have to stay late, come in early, come in when someone calls out, or otherwise. They don’t have to go above and beyond their duties to help someone, but often times they do, and going unnoticed can often stymie this. Make sure you’re giving thanks when it’s due.
Give out raises & promotions
We don’t mean give out raises all willy nilly, but giving a raise when it’s due is important to keeping employees. Stagnant wages are a huge factor to long-time employees jumping ship. If you have great employees that you want to keep, a $.10 hourly raise a year probably isn’t going to help out much. With rising cost of goods and housing, you need to be aware that this can put pressure on your employees to look elsewhere. It’s up to your business to recognize the good work employees do and thank their continued diligence with raises and promotions, but remember… Just like we said, you get what you pay for.
Be open to criticism & honest with your employees
Making sure you are keeping an open ear to criticisms of your business is important as well. Changing processes based on employee complaints to make things easier and more streamlined can vastly help to keep employees happy. Say you’ve got a printer that jams multiple times a day. Rather than having employees waste valuable time and getting angry continually trying to remove the jam each day, it may be time to invest in a new printer. Simple solutions can help your workflow go smoother and keep your employees happy. But if you’re never receptive to hear these complaints, you may never know that there is a problem to begin with.
The other part of this is being honest with your employees. If you know there’s a problem, but you don’t intend on fixing it soon, let them know that. In the printer scenario, if you say, “we’re getting a new printer next week” every single week, employees will get frustrated with you and think you are stringing them along – and lying. What other things could you be dishonest about as well if you’re willing to be dishonest about a printer? Be honest and open to the best of your ability. This will help your employees empathize with you. Perhaps the answer is more “I plan on purchasing a new printer once our budget allows for it.” Or “it’s a top priority for a purchase in 2018.”
Listen, watch, and work alongside your employees
One big thing is that bosses, upper management, and owners can sometimes get so wrapped up in their own duties that they totally ignore their employees. Without having to live through many of the issues their employees face, bosses can be ignorant that there even is a problem to begin with, or may not listen to employee complaints. Taking time out of your schedule to work alongside employees regularly (we say regularly because if you only come in once every two months, employees may “put on airs” when you come in, glossing over problematic areas) and understand the problems they may face can help you empathize – and make better decisions for changes inside of your company. Maybe your warehouse has a gate that slams shut in a violent manner that the employees just live with but needs to be repaired. Maybe you’ve never seen firsthand how many times that printer jams per day and how it really does cause a backup. Putting your feet on the ground and doing the work your employees do (yes, sometimes even the “grunt work”) shows that you’re not above their work and that you want to understand how difficult their work can be.
Keep an eye out for jams in the processes. Where are employees overworked? Where could they benefit from hiring additional help? Are your employees comfortable? Do your employees like what they do? Do your employees like each other and interact accordingly? Do your employees like you?
Be a great boss
Most of all, just be a great boss. Listen to your employees, don’t treat them poorly, pay them what they are worth, and be understanding, down to earth, and kind. Lead by example. If you’re a great boss and you’re willing to do things to make your company grow, make your employees happy, and keep workflow seamless, chances are success and increased employee retention will greatly follow!